by Gopalan on  February 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM Child Health News
 Over A Million British Children Mired In Poverty
The economic situation in Britain, which once ruled major parts of the world, is turning grim. Predictably it is the children who get hurt most.

New research by Save the Children shows the number of children living in deepest poverty remains unacceptably high, at 1.6 million.

Wales has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world. More than 200,000 children - at least one in 3 - live in poverty and almost one in seven lives in severe poverty.

The report said 90,000 children (14%) live in low income homes which are often poorly heated and where it is a struggle to pay for basics like food and clothes.

This compares to 13% in England and 9% in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Both the UK and Welsh assembly governments have pledged to eradicate all child poverty by 2020.

With increasing unemployment and cuts in welfare payments, Save the Children fears that even more children will be forced into severe poverty in the coming months without urgent and concerted action.

"Children up and down the country are going to sleep at night in homes with no heating, without eating a proper meal and without proper school uniforms to put on in the morning," said Sally Copley, Save the Children's head of UK policy. "No child should be born without a chance. It's a national scandal that 1.6 million children are growing up in severe poverty."

Andrew Chalinder, the charity's head in Wales, described the level of child poverty as a scandal.

He said: "Children up and down the country are going to sleep at night in homes with no heating, without eating a proper meal and without proper school uniforms to put on in the morning.

"No child should be born without a chance. It is a scandal that so many children in Wales are growing up in severe poverty."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: "There is no higher priority for us than ensuring that children and young people whose lives are blighted by poverty have the same life chances and opportunities as their more affluent peers.

"The current economic climate makes it even more important that we retain our commitment to tackling child poverty, by prioritising the needs of the poorest and protecting the most vulnerable.

The charity is calling upon the national Chancellor to announce an emergency plan in the next budget to:

channel new jobs into the poorest areas

increase financial support for low-income families, for example, by paying for more childcare costs enabling parents to work

At present, the government has no official way to measure how many children are caught up in severe child poverty, or to estimate the impact of their policies on this most vulnerable section of the population. We want the Government to adopt our pioneering measurement of severe child poverty, which combines both income and material deprivation.

"If the government is to fulfil its commitments on child poverty, it must find a way of counting children in greatest need," Copley continued. "At the moment, these children are hidden from official view, and their plight unrecognised. If these children are to have a future, we must acknowledge their desperate need and urgently target government help towards them."

A lone-parent family with one child aged under 14 in severe poverty is living on an income of less than 7,000 and a couple with two children under 14 is on less than 12,500.

These families are also going without the things that many of us take for granted such as being able to properly celebrate birthdays or special events and build friendships by having children round for tea.

Source: Medindia

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